Ardian taps HarbourVest principal to lead Tokyo office

Kanji Takenaka will be charged with building a business which accounts for more than 12 blue-chip Japanese investors worth $2bn in AUM.

Ardian has opened an office in Tokyo and has hired a HarbourVest Partners principal to lead the effort.

Kanji Takenaka joins as managing director and head of Japan, according to a statement from the firm. He spent more than three years at the Tokyo office of HarbourVest, where he rose to the rank of principal.

In that role he was responsible for limited partner and general partner relationships, and working on Japan-focused primary, secondaries and co-investment transactions, HarbourVest outlined in a 2015 statement.

He has also held roles with Simplex Real Estate, Fortress Investment Group and Norinchukin Bank, across Tokyo and New York.

Ardian wants to take advantage of a growing appetite for alternatives among Japanese limited partners, in terms of fund commitments and the creation of separately managed accounts, Jan Phillipp Schmitz, member of the executive committee of Ardian and head of Asia, told Secondaries Investor.

Japanese investors tend to be more diligent in their coverage of investments, and having a Japanese-speaking representative on the ground, available at any hour, is increasingly important, Schmitz said.

Ardian has bought stakes from Japanese limited partners before and would like to do so again, he added.

The Tokyo office will mainly focus on servicing clients, with investment professionals hired in due course, Schmitz added. The outpost is Ardian’s third in Asia-Pacific after Singapore and Beijing and its 13th globally.

The firm has more than one dozen blue-chip clients in Japan, representing more than $2 billion in assets under management. It picked up its first Japanese client in 2004. The firm has nearly 50 clients in Asia, which have invested $8.2 billion in its funds, according to the statement.

Ardian has $66 billion in assets under management across primary funds, primary and secondaries funds of funds, infrastructure, real estate and private debt, according to its website.